Results tagged ‘ Joe Girardi ’
One of the treats of getting to Yankee Stadium early in the afternoon on a game day is to watch Mariano Rivera patrol center field during batting practice, gracefully making sure everything hit in his general direction doesn’t hit the turf.
Had things gone differently in his life, there’s really no reason to doubt that Rivera could have played a different position instead of becoming the game’s all-time saves leader. The Yankees wouldn’t change a thing, but Rivera still dreams of playing center field in a Major League game.
“You know what, I want to. I want to talk to that man over there,” Rivera said, nodding toward Joe Girardi’s office at Steinbrenner Field. “I want to. I’d love to. But, again, you know, it’s not something I look at as a joke. I want to do it right.”
This isn’t the first time that Girardi has been reminded of Rivera’s desire, and he did accommodate Jorge Posada’s wishes to play second base last August. But granting Rivera’s wish creates a great risk for Girardi, who’d be holding his breath every second his closer spends out there.
There’s no perfect time to do it, unless it’s clear the Yankees are going to miss the playoffs (think 2008) and Rivera has already announced his retirement. Even if they’ve already clinched a playoff spot in September, they’d still need Rivera for the World Series run, and losing him would be catastrophic to their postseason chances.
Still, Girardi hinted that if 2012 is going to be Rivera’s final season, he might be inclined to roll the dice.
“He’d have to share his plans with me to be in that mix,” Girardi said. “I wonder if he’s going to come stand next to me for two innings like Jorgie did, in my ear. That bullpen phone will be ringing a lot in the bullpen: ‘It’s Mo again.'”
Rivera would never take matters into his own hands, but Girardi admitted that if Rivera raced to center field and told Curtis Granderson to hit the showers, there wouldn’t be a whole lot the Yankees could do about it.
“What if he was to run out there and say, ‘You’re out?'” Girardi said. “What are you going to say to him?”
Rivera said he would be fine with playing as little as one pitch in center field; really, he just wants to check that box on a list that has seen him accomplish almost everything else he dreamed of in the game.
“Hopefully. Hopefully,” Rivera said. “If not, I’m OK.”
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This was a funny moment today in camp. Not that it should be a big surprise to anyone, but Joe Girardi had to backpedal a little bit this afternoon after accidentally mentioning Eric Chavez as one of his backup first base options.
“We don’t have him, but there has been talk about him,” Girardi said, smiling, as someone pointed out the goof. “That’s not official.”
Indeed, the Yankees have no agreement yet with Chavez, but it seems extremely likely they’ll hammer one out before position players hit camp on Friday.
“I’d like to have him back,” Girardi said. “I thought he was productive for us and he gives me flexibility.”
Raul Ibanez’s signing is now official, so the Yankees’ roster is at 40 players.
We’ll lead off today with Joe Girardi, as the Yankees manager was asked yesterday if he feels like he’s grown in his position since taking over Joe Torre’s chair in 2008. Girardi first jokingly asked if he looked older than then — it’s not for us to say, the reporter responded — and then agreed that he has found a better feel for his day-to-day duties.
“I think I’m much different,” he said. “I think you have a much better understanding of how it works here and the expectations of the job. It’s one thing to say you know what it’s like because you watched someone else do it, but it’s another to actually do it.
“I think the relationships with the players are stronger. I think there’s a better understanding of my players. I think there’s a better understanding of managing an American League game as opposed to a National League game. So I do think I’ve improved.”
Back with more updates in just a bit.
It looks like that 11 a.m. press conference might not begin as planned. Joe Girardi’s 6 a.m. flight is still stuck at the gate in Newark, so the first scheduled event of Yankees Spring Training will obviously be delayed.
Luckily, there’s not too much else on Girardi’s agenda today — he doesn’t have to oversee a workout until tomorrow. The Yankees’ clubhouse at George M. Steinbrenner Field is being filled with pitchers and catchers as we speak. It’ll be open to the media for an hour beginning at 10 a.m.
Unsolicited advice for Girardi while he waits: check out the greasy spoon Garden State Diner near Gate 82. I’ve actually never had a bad breakfast there.
Joe Girardi didn’t spend too much time in the opposing dugout from Bobby Valentine during his playing days; there were the Subway Series from 1997-1999, and a few random Cubs-Mets series from 2000-02. But there will be 18 head-to-head meetings with Valentine and the Red Sox beginning this year, and Girardi thinks it’ll change the rivalry somewhat.
“Bobby is a guy that knows how to manage and I think he’s going to add a lot,” Girardi said at the Hilton Anatole, where he arrived on Tuesday. “Bobby adds some spunk to his clubs, there’s no doubt about it. I didn’t get to witness him first-hand a lot, but Bobby has been successful wherever he’s went. It should be exciting.”